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Denver Criminal Mischief Attorney

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The Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. has 33+ years of experience defending clients in the Denver and surrounding area. If you are facing a charge of criminal mischief, you deserve aggressive and individualized representation in your case. Let me, Attorney David L. Owen, Jr. fight for your defense, whether arguing to drop the charges or mitigate your sentencing.

Contact my firm today for your free, same-day consultation.

What Is Criminal Mischief?

Colorado law defines criminal mischief as someone “knowingly damaging the real or personal property of one or more other persons.” This crime does not include stealing, but rather any activity that physically damages property. Some examples of criminal mischief include:

  • vandalism;
  • breaking windows;
  • slashing tires;
  • “egging” or spray painting cars;
  • defacing property;
  • graffiti;
  • tampering with emergency exits or fire alarms;
  • setting off smoke bombs;
  • introducing viruses to another’s computer.

Criminal mischief charges also often arise in a domestic violence context, as when a couple or former couple gets into an argument, they may intentionally destroy property, such as by breaking a window, slashing tires, or damaging cellphones. In these scenarios, you could be charged with criminal mischief, in addition to assault and domestic violence charges. Note that you can face criminal mischief charges even if you are the owner of the property you've damaged or destroyed.

Penalties for Criminal Mischief

Note that paying the alleged victim for the damage caused will not remove any criminal liability you may have, and charges may still be filed against you. The penalties for criminal mischief convictions depend on the total value of the damaged or destroyed property. If the crime involved a vehicle, you may also have your driver’s license revoked or suspended. The sentencing structure for criminal mischief charges is as follows:

  • Misdemeanors
    • Damage is less than $300 – Class 3 misdemeanor that carries up to 6 months in jail and $750 in fines.
    • Damage is $300 - $750 – Class 2 misdemeanor that carries up to 1 year in prison and $1,000 in fines.
    • Damage is $750 - $1,000 – Class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to 1.5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
  • Felonies
    • Damage is $1,000 - $5,000 – Class 6 felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
    • Damage is $5,000 - $20,000 – Class 5 felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
    • Damage is $20,000 - $100,000 – Class 4 felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
    • Damage is $100,000 - $1,000,000 – Class 3 felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
    • Damage is $1,000,000 or more – Class 2 felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison and $1,000,000 in fines.

It is possible to get a probation sentence instead of a jail sentence, depending on the circumstances of the crime. An experienced attorney can best evaluate your situation and determine whether you can argue for a probation sentence in place of a jail sentence.

Defending Against Criminal Mischief Charges

There are a number of different defense tactics you can take to fight a criminal mischief charge. Some defenses you and your attorney can take include:

  • no property was destroyed;
  • it was an accident (not done knowingly);
  • the property was worth less than claimed;
  • mistaken identity;
  • insanity or impaired mental state (trauma, emotional anguish, PTSD);
  • self-defense;
  • entrapment or coercion.

Note that because Colorado law requires an act of criminal mischief to be committed knowingly, it is impossible to accidentally commit criminal mischief.

Contact a Denver Criminal Mischief Defense Attorney Immediately

Criminal mischief charges could lead to severe consequences if not handled effectively. In most cases, paying the restitution will not be enough to resolve your case. However, an experienced criminal mischief defense lawyer can argue for mitigated penalties as a result of your paying the cost of damages upfront. The Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. can work one-on-one with you to craft a strong defense in your case. Whether you seek to drop the charges or reduce your sentencing, let my team and I fight for your case.

Contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. today to schedule your free, same-day consultation.

Tough Defense Strategies for Tough Criminal Charges

  • Fight to reduce, dismiss, or acquit your charges.

  • Keep you informed of your case at all times.

  • Available for evening, weekend appointments and jail visits.

  • Former first assistant federal public defender.

  • Complimentary and confidential consultations.

  • Will travel to you to hear your side of the story